… give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
I have two boys, so I have been living in action figure superhero world for quite a while now. What this world has taught me is that although all superheroes are different, they all have one thing in common: they all possess a superpower – something that they were either born with, discovered after a spider bite, or developed over time by sheer will and persistence. Once their superpower is refined, there’s usually no way to defeat them; the superhero always end up the victor in whatever the battle or calamity of the day is.
Our church has been blessed with an amazing priest named Father Brian. He gives sermons week after week that not only rivet me, but rivet my kids! With each sermon, he uses a prop, some concrete item that further illustrates whatever point he is trying to make that day. Once he used a delicate sweater to explain that we can’t shrink in the face of insults or mistakes we make. Instead, we need to have enough confidence in ourselves that we stay strong like the sturdy shirt he hung beside the delicate sweater.
My favorite prop so far has been the teflon pan. Father Brian pointed out that nothing can stick to it. He went on to equate the teflon pan to gratitude. When we are being grateful, nothing can stick to us: we can’t stay angry, sad, disappointed or fearful. Gratitude makes these emotions shrink and slip away.
I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on that analogy. After much thought, combined with my experience living in superhero world, I’ve concluded that gratitude is a superpower! If we choose to activate it, there is no way to defeat it. There is no villain who can rob us of it.
As a mom, I have to wield the power of gratitude on a daily basis to fight all kinds of battles and calamities to “save” my kids. When Zack can’t go to his friend’s birthday party and is fighting tears of disappointment, I have to point out that it’s because we’ve already committed to seeing his other friend in a Christmas pageant that same day. Gratitude makes him realize how fortunate he is to have two great friends who extended invitations to him, albeit both at once. When Mason gets frustrated when something he creates doesn’t come out perfect, reminding him of all his gifts and talents brings him back to center. When Jocelyn wakes up in the middle of the night petrified from a bad dream, we take turns listing all the wonderful things in her life: family members, friends, toys, etc. A gratitude list triumphs over bad dreams every time.
Although the quintessential accessory for a superhero is a cape, the most important accessory for the superpower of gratitude is the lens of right perspective. This lens changes how we see things; it sharpens our vision. When we look through the lens of gratitude, all the negatives in our lives seem to blur into the background, and all that we are grateful for comes into focus. That is right vision; that is how God views things.
We were all born into this world with this superpower: seeing the good, oblivious to the bad. Unfortunately, as we grow up, society tries to strip us of this by spotlighting all that is wrong with the world. There’s no doubt that as adults we can no longer be oblivious to the bad, but God’s will for us is to still be grateful in all circumstances. This is the superpower that He gifted us all with to conquer sadness, disappointment, anger and fear.
So dust off your vision, accessorize yourself with a lens of gratitude, and be a superhero in your own little corner of the world!
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Love this Claire! I love the superpower and teflon pan analogies. So grateful for you and this inspirational space!!
Thank YOU Jess for being such an amazing example of what “gratitude in action” looks like. I can only hope to one day achieve the level of thanks that you routinely shower over those you love!
Thanks, Claire. Being reminded to be grateful is a blessing in itself!!
Your the one, Mom, that I owe the most gratitude to! Thank you for always supporting me in whatever endeavor I undertake. You truly are my “biggest fan” and I am sooooo thankful for that, and you!
Yes, gratitude can shape our lives into better ones! Attitude is everything. Wonderful post as usual, Claire.
Your Father Brian reminds me of a priest we had when my kids were small. He was an amateur magician and would do small tricks to illustrate a point in his homily. The adults loved it as much as the kids!
I am always grateful for your comments Deborah! They really do mean a lot! I would have loved to have heard/seen a sermon by your priest. What a wonderful way to make his sermons magical!
I think you are using your superhero power of being able to look at the positive side of things. You can always find the one good thing (even if it’s minute) in every situation. I try to think – “how would Claire spin this?” if I’m feeling negatively about something. This blog is one of the many ways you put that superpower to good use!
I also love Father Brian. He brought in his motorcycle windshield to talk to the kids about hiding behind things for protection. If you hide in fear than you will never be able to enjoy a full life. Since then I’m trying to make an effort to do things outside of my comfort zone.
Thanks, Pam, for your immense support and encouragement! I see you using your superhero power with your kids all the time. They are SO lucky to have you, and I am so grateful to have your friendship!